BGH announces ‘measured’ reopening of clinics and services

By Reader Staff

Bonner General Health released what it referred to as a “measured process” of reopening its clinics and services in phases to be in concert with Gov. Brad Little’s stages of reopening the state of Idaho amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This will be a very calculated process,” BGH CEO Sheryl Rickard said. “There are still concerns in our community regarding COVID-19; however, we do feel it is time to begin offering services to those community members in need of medical attention.”

Phase 1 of BGH’s reopening will continue through May, or until it is safe to begin Phase 2. Under Phase 1 guidelines, BGH said its diagnostic imaging services began screening mammograms and DEXA scans starting April 27. Ultrasound, MRI and CT will continue on an outpatient basis. All patients will have a prior screening before appointments. Starting Wednesday, May 13, BGH will start routine fluoroscopy procedures as deemed medically necessary by the ordering providers on Wednesdays only.

Outpatient surgery will also begin scheduling low-risk patients, who will receive a COVID-19 test 24-48 hours before their surgery.

Sandpoint Women’s Health will continue seeing patients with screening before scheduled appointments. All scheduled labor, delivery and surgical patients will receive a COVID-19 test prior to their surgery.

The Ear, Nose & Throat and Ophthalmology clinics will begin seeing a limited number of patients in mid-May. Those currently waiting for an appointment will be contacted in the coming weeks.

Current visitor restrictions are still in place. Patients and visitors will continue to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the hospital or BGH clinics. Patients and visitors will be required to wear a cloth mask while in the hospital and BGH clinics — those who do not have one will be provided with a mask upon entry.

BGH will continue tracking the COVID-19 numbers for the region closely andreassess Phase 1 if necessary. 

“We commend our citizens for abiding by the stay-at-home order the last several weeks,” said Dr. Vincent Huntsberger, director of BGH Emergency Medicine. “We do hope our community will continue to be mindful of basic hygiene practices and social distancing to keep our numbers minimal.”

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